Time has been a tangible force today. The “nor-easter” storm had rattled the windows and made the trees outside groan and heave like tall ships at anchor all night long. Every gust stretched out seconds into minutes and strained the hands of the clock through the night.
The morning brought with it little respite, the grey light and howling wind seeming more like late November than late April. When I reached the office I checked my email, the first task I do almost every morning, and time took a small leap. In two emails I learned of the shootings at Virginia Tech and of the death of my godfather, Ralph Hamson.
At 9 o’clock this morning a friend at VT was telling us of the earlier shooting, and the days full tragedy had not yet sunk in. My godfather’s passing also seemed distant, I’d not seen him in many years, maybe not since my grandfather’s funeral. I could still recall him though, and as I sat at my desk I couldn’t get a few clear memory images of a tall, slender gentleman with wavy hair and a small beard over slim cheeks out of my mind. The mischievous glint in Ralph’s eyes and the sense of strength, honesty, and good nature that I feel when I remember him seem to be traits that belonged to him as well as his father and uncle, my uncles Reg and Harry. I might not have seen him, or even been in touch in recent years but he was my godfather and a member of a side of my family I hold with great affection. I wish I’d more photographs to remember them all by, or more words recorded to capture who they were. It would have been nice to keep in touch more, or to have been old enough to have shared a glass of Uncle Harry’s famous home brewed beer, or to have helped Uncle Reg wash his special car… maybe it is just time passing that pulls those childhood memories into sharper focus in my mind, and makes me remember the old family gatherings. Or maybe in remembering them I make them real again for a few days longer.